"I understand that good people sometimes find themselves in bad situations."

Fraud Defense Attorney in Phoenix

Fraud is defined as the act of deceiving or misrepresenting. Considered a white-collar crime in Phoenix, AZ, fraud is generally committed within a business environment.

Often void of violence or physical injury, fraud refers to financially motivated, nonviolent crimes committed by businesses or government professionals. Typical white-collar crimes include fraud schemes such as credit card fraud, embezzlement, and insurance fraud.

Fraud Defense in Phoenix AZ

Experienced Criminal Defense

From Medicare fraud to forgery and embezzlement, Aaron Black defends those who are charged with a white-collar crime.
 
A former Public Defender in Maricopa County, I understand that good people sometimes find themselves in bad situations. To me, that does not mean that those caught in a bad situation are criminals or even guilty of a crime.
 
In each case that I defend, no matter what charges my Client is facing, the goal is always to get the state to dismiss their case long before the trial or to negotiate a plea agreement that benefits the person who made a mistake.
 
I have successfully defended clients in numerous cases to a jury and judge, respectively, over 55 jury trials, and over 120 bench trials.

What is white-collar crime?

The term White Collar crime was first introduced by Edwin Sutherland in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation.”

In today’s society, a white-collar crime typically involves a professional who wears a white business shirt and collar. When a fraudulent crime is committed by a professional in business attire, it’s considered a white-collar crime.
 

What Constitutes Fraud?


Fraud involves the willful manipulation of finances for personal gain by using fraudulent and dishonest methods. Those charged with fraud are facing serious criminal charges and should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Outlined under Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2310, a fraud scheme is defined as the following.
  • Any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or material omissions, is guilty of a class 2 felony.
     
  • Reliance on the part of any person shall not be a necessary element of the offense described in subsection A of this section.
     
  • A person who is convicted of a violation of this section that involved a benefit with a value of one hundred thousand dollars or more is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except pursuant to section 31 233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed by the court has been served, the person is eligible for release pursuant to section 41 1604.07 or the sentence is commuted.
 

What are the penalties for Fraud?

Fraud is considered a Class 2 felony. A serious offense, fraud is punishable by up to 12.5 years in prison.

A Class 2 felony consequences far exceed the punishment such as a criminal record forever and some loss of rights such as the right to carry a firearm and the right to vote.
Tack on the social stigma and the punishment extends way beyond the courtroom.
 
Class 2 felony
 
A class 2 felony offense is punishable by up to 12.5 years in prison, 7 years of probation, and a fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
 
Class 2 felony offenses include possession of narcotic drugs for sale, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, manslaughter, aggravated assault, sexual assault, child prostitution, armed robbery, assisting a criminal street gang, burglary, discharging a firearm, theft and fraudulent schemes.
 

Bank fraud

Bank fraud is a serious crime that carries a prison sentence, fines, probation, and possible restitution. Defined under ARS 13-2310, bank fraud involves using a financial institution such as a bank to achieve monetary gains using fraudulent and deceptive ways. Deception can be made in many different ways, which is why the term is broadly defined.
 
Providing false information to get a bank loan is an example of what constitutes bank fraud. Although there are other ways to commit this type of fraud, depending on the type of fraud, it can be either a felony or a misdemeanor.
 
Examples of bank fraud are as follows.
  • Loan Fraud
  • Wire Transfer Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Phishing and Online Banking Fraud
     
Bank fraud is considered a serious crime in Phoenix, AZ. Although bank fraud comes in many forms, no matter what type of bank fraud you are facing, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
 
We've all heard horror stories from the legal trenches.
  • My lawyer failed to show up at the preliminary hearing!
  • The attorney that I initially talked to disappeared into the abyss and someone that I'm not familiar with showed up in the courtroom in their place. 
  • My attorney won't return my phone calls.
 
At the Law Office of Aaron Black, I represent each of my clients. Unlike many large firms that work to acquire as many cases as possible at any given time, I represent a limited number of clients.
 
Not only will you get personal representation, but you will also get direct contact with me.
 

What is Credit card fraud?

Credit card fraud involves the use of a person’s credit card without their consent. A severe crime in the state of Arizona, depending on the circumstances it can range from a Class 5, Class 6, or Class 1 misdemeanor penalty.
 
If you use or are the recipient of anything purchased with a credit card and you are fully aware that is was stolen, you can be convicted of a crime.
  • Selling a credit card with the intent to defraud
  • Possessing or taking someone else’s credit card without the cardholder’s permission
  • Possessing or controlling someone else’s credit card as collateral for debt with the intent to defraud
     
Depending on the value of the purchased item(s), you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony.

Class 1 misdemeanor – less than $250

A class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor offense. 
  • 6 months in jail
  • 3 years of probation (5 years maximum probation for D.U.I. offenses)
  • $2,500 fine plus surcharges
     
Class 6 felony – between $250 and $1,000

Maximum penalties include the following.
  • Punishment of 2 years in prison
  • 3 years of supervised probation
  • $150,000 fine and surcharges
     
Class 5 felony – over $1,000

Maximum penalties include the following.
  • Punishment of 2.5 years in prison
  • 3 years of supervised probation
  • $150,000 fine and surcharges.
 

Embezzlement

When you are entrusted to care for the property of someone else, and you take advantage of that relationship through monetary means, you could be charged with embezzlement.
 
Often embezzlement includes the misappropriation of money, which means that the money doesn’t necessarily go directly to the person committing the crime; instead, it can go to a third party to benefit them. Nevertheless, it is a crime since the money is not with the person who rightfully owns it.
 
According to ARS 13-1802, taking someone else’s property without proper consent with the intent to keep it yourself is a crime, for example.
  • Controls property of another with the intent to deprive the other person of such property; or
     
  • Converts for an unauthorized term or use services or property of another entrusted to the defendant or placed in the defendant's possession for a limited, authorized term or use; or
     
  • Obtains services or property of another by means of any material misrepresentation with intent to deprive the other person of such property or services
     
The penalties for embezzlement are dependent on the amount that was stolen.


Class 2 felony - $25,000 or more
  • minimum sentence of 4 years, a maximum sentence of 12.5 years
  • A maximum fine of $1000 plus surcharges
 
Class 3 felony - $4,000 or more, but less than $25,000
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 2.5 years, a maximum sentence of 8.75 years
  • Minimum fine of $1000 plus surcharges
 
Class 4 felony - $3,000 or more, but less than $4,000
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 18 months, a maximum sentence of 3.75 years
  • Minimum fine of $1000 plus surcharges
 
Class 5 felony - $2,000 or more, but less than $3,000
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 9 months, a maximum sentence of 1.5 year
  • Minimum fine of $1000 plus surcharges
 
Class 6 felony - $1,000 or more, but less than $2,500
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 6 months, a maximum sentence of 1 year
  • Minimum fine of $1000 plus surcharges
 
Class 1 misdemeanor - less than $1,000
  • Punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months
  • 3 years of probation
  • A maximum fine of $2500 plus surcharges
 

Forgery

Laws against forgery can be traced back to 80 BC, forgery today goes beyond the stroke of a pen.

Based on the legal definition, intent to defraud is the intention to deceive others. If you are facing forgery charges, it is vital for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted with the intent to defraud knowingly.

Reasonable doubt is a doubt based upon reason and common sense, rather than being based purely on speculation.

According to ARS 13-2001, forgery entails the following.
  • Falsely making, altering, or completing a written instrument with the intent to defraud 
  • Possessing a fake written instrument, such as a document and the person knows that the document is fake or contains false information and they intend to use it to defraud others
  • Presents such a fake written instrument, whether it is accepted as real or not
  • “Forged instrument” means a written instrument that has been falsely made, completed or altered.

If convicted of forgery, the penalties are as follows.
 
Class 4 felony
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 1 year or a maximum sentence of 3.75 years
According to ARS 13-2002, “if the forged instrument is used in connection with the purchase, lease or renting of a dwelling that is used as a drop house, it is a class 3 felony.” For the purposes of this subsection, "drop house" means property that is used to facilitate smuggling.” A drop house is defined as a property used to facilitate smuggling.


Class 3 felony
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 years or a maximum sentence of 8.75 years
 
Making or possessing a forgery tool with the intent to commit either fraud or forgery is punishable by the following.
 

Intent to commit Fraud

  • Class 6 felony
     
Punishable by a minimum sentence of 1 year, a maximum sentence of 2 years 

Intent to commit forgery

  • Class 5 felony
     
Punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 years, a maximum sentence of 2.5 years
 

Illegal control of an Enterprise

According to ARS 13-2312, a person commits illegal control of an enterprise if such person, through racketeering or its proceeds, acquires or maintains, by investment or otherwise, control of any enterprise.
 
What is racketeering?
 
Typically associated with organized crime, racketeering comes from the word racket. A racket is a criminal activity that cheats people out of their money.
 
Racketeering crimes in Arizona include illegal control of an enterprise and illegally conducting an enterprise.
 
Racketeering includes human trafficking, bribery, wire fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling, money laundering, and more.

The penalties for illegal control of an enterprise are as follows.
  • Illegal control of an enterprise
     
Class 3 felony
 
Punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 years, a maximum sentence of 8.75 years
  • Illegally conducting an enterprise
 Punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 years, a maximum sentence of 8.75 years
 

Insurance fraud

Insurance fraud occurs when someone puts false information or misleading information on an insurance application or important information is omitted on an insurance claim or transaction.
 
According to ARS 20-463, in short, insurance fraud is committed by presenting untrue statements, either written, oral, including computer-generated documents to an insurer, reinsurer, purported insurer to an insurance producer or agent.

In the state of Arizona, insurance fraud can occur in several different ways.
  • Automobile accidents and insurance
  • Disability benefits
  • Medicaid
  • Casualty
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Health care claims such as medical
How is insurance fraud committed?
 
Again, fraud is defined as the act of deceiving or misrepresenting. Insurance fraud can be committed under the following circumstances.
  • False documents were provided to an insurance company involving policy or claim
  • Forged documents were submitted to an insurance company in reference to a claim
  • Premiums or monies paid were diverted paid by or to an insured reference to an insurance claim or policy
Often considered a class 6 felony, the penalties for an insurance fraud conviction include jail, fines, restitution, and employment loss.
 
Class 6 felony
  • Carries a maximum punishment of 2 years in prison
  • 3 years of supervised probation
  • $150,000 fine
  • Surcharges
 

Medicare fraud

Healthcare fraud in Arizona is considered a severe offense and can lead to lengthy prison time.
 
Falsifying claims or making false statements to a Medicare or Medicaid claim can lead to a 5-year sentence per offense. A conviction for federal health care fraud can result in a 10-year sentence for each crime.
 
Class 6 felony
  • Carries a maximum punishment of 2 years in prison
  • 3 years of supervised probation
  • $150,000 fine
  • Surcharges
 

Money laundering

Money laundering in Arizona is considered a criminal offense. A process of disguising the proceeds of a crime by integrating it into a legal, financial system, money laundering is a serious offense in Arizona.
 
Defined in Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2317, money laundering is defined by the following circumstances.
  • Knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, supervises or is in the business of money laundering
     
  • Acquires or maintains an interest in, transacts, transfers, transports, receives or conceals the existence or nature of racketeering proceeds
  • Makes property available to another by transaction, transportation or otherwise knowing that it is intended to be used to facilitate racketeering
  • Conducts a transaction knowing or having reason to know that the property involved is the proceeds of an offense
  • Intentionally or knowingly makes a false statement, misrepresentation or false certification, false entry or omits a material entry in any application, financial statement, account record, customer receipt or other documents
  • Intentionally or knowingly provides any false information or fails to disclose information that causes any licensee, authorized delegate, money transmitter, trade or business
 
Penalties for money laundering in Arizona
 
Depending on the exact nature of activities and the scope of the crime, there are three degrees of money laundering.
 
Money laundering in the 3rd Degree
 
Third-degree money laundering is a Class 6 felony
  • Carries a maximum punishment of 2 years in prison
  • 3 years of supervised probation
  • A fine of $150,000 fine
  • Surcharges
 
Second-degree money laundering is a Class 3 felony
  • Punishable by up to 8.75 years in prison
  • 5 years of probation
  • A fine of $150,000
  • Surcharges
 
First-degree money laundering is a Class 2 felony
  • Punishable by up to 12.5 years in prison
  • 7 years of probation
  • A fine of $150,000
  • Surcharges
If you have been charged with money laundering in Phoenix, Arizona, you need to seek immediate representation by a qualified criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
 
With life-altering punishments and ramifications, it is imperative that you check their qualifications, and I recommend that you interview several attorneys before making a decision.
 

Mortgage fraud

Fraud occurs when a potential homebuyer, seller, or lender omits or lies about crucial information that leads to a mortgage loan approval or terms that the applicant wouldn’t typically qualify for.
 
ARS 13-2320, mortgage fraud is committed if you engaged in the following.
 
  • Knowingly makes any deliberate misstatement, misrepresentation or material omission during the mortgage lending process
  • Knowingly uses or facilitates the use of any deliberate misstatement, misrepresentation or material omission during the mortgage lending process
  • Receives any proceeds or other monies in connection with a residential mortgage loan that the person knows resulted from a violation
     
  • Files or causes to be filed with the office of the county recorder of any county of this state any residential mortgage loan document that the person knows to contain a deliberate misstatement, misrepresentation or material omission
 
To be charged with mortgage fraud, the person filing had knowledge of the false nature of the information.
 
Penalties for mortgage fraud include the following.

Class 2 felony
  • A first offense for mortgage felony is a class 2 felony.
     
  •  A class 2 felony offense is punishable by up to 12.5 years in prison, 7 years of probation, and a fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
     
  • Second Mortgage Fraud offense is punishable up to 23.5 years in prison
     
  • Third Mortgage Fraud offense is punishable up to 35 years in prison
 

Tax fraud

Tax fraud/evasion is classified as a criminal offense in Arizona. A white-collar crime, the consequences of a tax evasion conviction involve severe punishments. There are a few ways in which you can be charged with tax evasion and filing falsified tax returns is one.
 
The legal definition of tax evasion is intentionally avoiding the payment of fully-owned taxes.
 
Under ARS 42-1127, tax evasion is to knowingly fail to pay any tax administered pursuant to this article due or believed due by the taxpayer with intent to evade the tax.
 
 Examples of Tax Fraud:
  • Using a false social security number
  • Understating income to owe lower taxes
  • Using fake documents when filing tax returns
  • Avoiding tax payment
  • Concealing income and assets from illegal activities
  • Failure to make estimated tax payments
  • Failure to cooperate with tax collection authorities
  • Not collecting employment taxes
  • Failure to maintain any kind of financial records
     
Tax evasion crimes in Arizona fall into three main categories.
  • Tax Evasion
  • Filing a false tax return
  • Not filing a tax return
     
If you’ve been charged with tax evasion, depending on the categorization you could be facing a minimum punishment will be five years, with fines that can reach up to $500,000.
 

Experienced Criminal Defense

At the Law Office of Aaron Black, I represent every one of my clients. Not only will you get personal representation, but you will also have a direct line to contact me 24 hours a day.
 
When you have questions, are nervous and just need to talk, or you need to chat to ease your mind, you will have my cell number and can call, text or email at any time. I will quickly respond unless I’m in court.

Although not the cheapest defense attorney in Phoenix, AZ, when your freedom is at stake, you need someone with knowledge of the legal system and the experience to back it up.

If you or someone you know is facing fraud charges in Phoenix, AZ, or surrounding communities, contact Criminal Defense Attorney, Aaron Black, for a free legal consultation or call (480) 729-1683.

I defend criminal cases in Arizona’s city, state, county, and federal courts.